This section is a reference for those interested in the Transformers Armada Battle for Cybertron Game (offsite link) created in 2003 by Craig Van Ness. TABC is a game very similar to Star Wars Epic Duels.
I also suspect that this may have been the prototype for the Star Wars Epic Duels sequel that Hasbro once showed at a Toy Fair. That sequel almost certainly featured single-character decks, the way this Transformers game does.
Roman and his friend Le Neek used to play TABC back in 2004-5 when they both lived in Los Angeles. We’ve played through all the decks and had some good games. However, this game doesn’t have the replay ability of SWED and we’re not fans of the new Transformers movies, so there is no custom content here or anything, just information on what Hasbro created.
TABC is played similarly to SWED, but most notably, these decks are all single character decks, and all are ranged attackers. All the characters have a “Minicon” associated with him, pictured on some of the cards, but those cards are played like any other, and there is no separate hit point track, so each deck is still really a 1-character deck.
We had the most fun playing 1v1 Master Play rules which include the use of two characters and two decks. Unlike normal 2v2 rules though, you play a single hand, and may play or draw cards from either deck using your actions. It’s less of a disadvantage to lose a character and play 1v2, because you still get the same number of actions as your opponent.
The 4 maps from this game have been a significant, long term addition to our SWED set. We use all 4 interchangeably with other SWED maps, though the forest map, below, and the Carbon Freezing Chamber maps are not popular with us. All 4 Transformers maps are available in Vassal in our module for “Geektopia Tweaks”.
- This is how Craig Van Ness has done single-character decks. As you can see, some of the basic cards are “major” basic cards and some are “minor” basic cards. In other words, majors have several 3/1’s, 1/2’s, 2/1’s and the like, and in my experience, the basic decks function pretty well with this setup. I thought this might help those who endeavor to create single character decks. I have applied some of this construct to the LOTRED Nazgul deck, which I know Freaky’s group has had fun with.
- Craig doesn’t necessarily stick to common basic decks. I would try to keep them more uniform.
- The characters don’t all have the same number of talent cards. I think that’s a mistake actually. I would keep the number the same.
- Some of these special cards have good ideas. I’ve used several ideas from Transformers cards in custom decks that I’ve created.
- Overall Megatron and Optimus Prime are both very powerful, but fun.
- Demolishor and Red Alert are, in my opinion, the most interestingly designed, well-balanced, and fun.
- Cyclonus is fairly basic but balanced.
- Hot Shot, Smokescreen and especially Starscream need some tweaking to be viable decks, in my opinion.